Sue Neill-Fraser and expectations of the appeal judges

Andrew L. Urban. 

Three Tasmanian judges will hear Sue Neill-Fraser’s new appeal later this year against her conviction for the 2009 murder of her partner Bob Chappell, amid concerns that the appeal should be heard not by local but by interstate judges. One reason is that the trial judge, Alan Blow, is now Chief Justice of Tasmania – their boss. But no doubt Justices Helen Wood, Stephen Estcourt and Robert Pearce will exercise objectivity and learned good judgement, as we suggest in this hypothetical. 

Sue Neill-Fraser’s family is seated in the front row of the Supreme Court’s public gallery, immediately behind the bar table, where the black robed teams from the DPP led by Daryl Coates SC and Tom Percy SC for the defence take their places like so many crows on an overhead wire.

The pews are filled with the media and general public, including a large presence from the loyal and ever-active Supporters of Sue group. Everyone stands as the three judges enter.

Sue Neill-Fraser, Australia Day2009

Sue Neill-Fraser is brought in, seated in her wheelchair and parked in the area usually populated by the jury, facing the witness stand. Anticipation, tension, apprehension and dread are swirling invisibly but palpably around the court.

The primary ground of appeal – the most critical element in the case from the start – is the central question surrounding the DNA that was found on the deck of Four Winds, later matched to then 15 year old homeless girl, Meaghan Vass. At trial, under perfunctory questioning, a terrified and vulnerable Vass denied having been on board. When it was discovered she had lied about her real whereabouts that night, then DPP Tim Ellis SC objected to her being recalled, and was supported by Justice Blow. This was a crucial decision …

Meaghan Vass (fb 2019)

But things eventually changed – when Vass changed her testimony, as recorded in an affidavit and broadcast on 60 Minutes on March 10, 2019, Her testimony now correlates with the DNA evidence, the only real evidence in the case.

Neill-Fraser has come to this appeal court with a nagging concern, ever since the December 19, 2019 directions hearing at which Justice Estcourt made an unexpected remark in an exchange with Coates: I imagine your position would be the same before this Court, that is that Ms Vass’ evidence might be highly probative and it might be substantial but it’s not reliable, therefore it’s not compelling.

Sure enough, Tom Percy now goes straight to this issue, arguing that Vass lying about being on the yacht at the time of the crime does not correlate with the DNA evidence, whereas her latest testimony does. And he repeats Estcourt’s words back at the bench, that Vass’ evidence is therefore ‘highly probative and substantial’. Percy argues that her testimony is probative and substantial, so it cannot be dismissed on the grounds that she has been an unreliable witness. It would be absurd to suggest that she is now lying, effectively to put herself in even more trouble. So it is indeed compelling. With the DNA evidence and her sworn testimony, Vass could be said to have been unreliable in her previous two court appearances where she denied being at the crime scene. But her admission now would make no sense unless it was true. The court must not ignore that reality.

In conclusion, Percy flirts with contempt of court by referring to Estcourt’s remarks at the earlier directions hearing, suggesting that those remarks demonstrate a view formed before the case was properly presented to the bench – a perception of bias might be inferred… with all due respect, of course.

The DPP’s team is agitated, the public murmurs and the judges pause. Estcourt calls for a short adjournment while the three judges confer privately.

On their return, Justice Pearce reprimands Percy for his suggestion of bias in Estcourt’s comments and says it is the court’s duty to have prepared for the appeal in every sense. However, he says, Vass has committed perjury – her conflicting statements cannot both be true – and her testimony is tainted by that.

Justice Pearce then announces that the judges will consider the matter subject to sworn testimony from Meaghan Vass.

Vass is called to the stand and sworn in. Unlike at her previous court appearance, Vass is calm, if nervous. It is put to her that she had made conflicting statements about being at the crime scene on the night of Australia Day 2009. She accepts that. She says she now wants to tell the truth because she wants to see Neill-Fraser returned to her family – an echo of what she said on 60 Minutes. (It might be thought she had grown up and had developed a guilty conscience about Neill-Fraser…)

Asked about the DNA, Vass says she had vomited. Asked if she had seen Sue Neill-Fraser on board that night, she said she had not.

In cross examination, DPP Coates asks why she has changed her version of events. Vass lowers her head and says quietly: “I was scared of what might happen to me if I told the truth at the trial…”

Justice Pearce interrupts to ask if Vass would have told the truth had she been recalled at the trial. Vass shrugs; “I don’t know…”

“And we will never know, either,” says Justice Pearce, in what could be interpreted as a mild rebuke to the then DPP and trial judge.

Justice Pearce adjourns the court, reserving judgement to a later date.

THE OFFICIAL CVs

The Hon Justice Helen Marie Wood was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of Tasmania in 2009. Her Honour is the senior puisne judge.

Her Honour graduated from the University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws in 1985. She practised exclusively in the criminal jurisdiction as Crown Counsel with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for seven years. She later practised in civil litigation in private practice. In 1994 she was the first woman appointed to the role of magistrate in Tasmania and served as a magistrate until 2009. She has a longstanding interest in human rights and access to justice. In conjunction with her role as magistrate, she served as Chairperson of the Sex Discrimination Tribunal (1996-1999) and the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal (1999-2009). She is a presently a member of the Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity and of the board of the Tasmania Law Reform Institute.

 

 Stephen Peter Estcourt was appointed to the Supreme Court of Tasmania in April 2013.

From 1974 until 1989 he worked with the firm of Archer Bushby in Launceston.

In 1989 he was appointed as a magistrate before establishing the Resource Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal in 1994 and becoming a Deputy President of the Commonwealth Appeals Tribunal in 2001.

Justice Estcourt joined the Tasmanian Bar in 1995 and was appointed Queens Counsel in 1998 practicing extensively in the civil and criminal jurisdictions of the Supreme Court of Tasmania and in the Federal and High Courts of Australia. During his time as a barrister his commitment to multiculturalism and pro-bono work saw him attract national acknowledgment in the areas of human rights and immigration law and in 2012 he was an Australian of the Year Tasmanian  Finalist in recognition of his organisation of World Party Tasmania in 2010 and 2012, an event celebrating Tasmania’s multicultural community.

From 2006 until 2008 he was President of the Tasmanian Bar Association and in 2007 he was elected President of the Australian Bar Association. He was a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law from 2007 until 2015. In 2017 he was sworn as an Administrator of the Government of Tasmania.

Justice Estcourt was  appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2018  for significant service to the judiciary as a Judge of the Supreme Court of Tasmania, to legal education, and to professional law societies.

Robert William Pearce was appointed to the Supreme Court of Tasmania in June 2013, having previously been appointed a magistrate in 2009.

He was admitted to the legal profession in 1983, and from 1988 was a member of the Launceston firm, Douglas and Collins. He practised as a barrister and solicitor in a broad range of commercial, civil and criminal litigation matters, appearing as counsel in the Supreme Court of Tasmania, the Federal Court, and many statutory tribunals and commissions.

From 1997 he was a member of the Disciplinary Tribunal of the legal profession, serving as Chair for three years until 2009. Between 1994 and 2009 he was Chair of the Tasmanian Racing Appeals Tribunal.

Away from the law, from 2001 until 2016, Justice Pearce was a board member of the St Giles Society, a community charitable organisation for persons with disabilities, serving as Chair between 2006 and 2009.

His Honour is the only member of the Supreme Court of Tasmania based in Launceston. He is presently Chair of the Costs and Fees Sub-Committee of the Supreme Court Rules Committee.

 

 The Hon Justice Alan Michael Blow was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of Tasmania in 2000, and as the Chief Justice in 2013. Since 2013 he has also been the Lieutenant Governor of Tasmania.

He is a graduate of the University of Sydney. He practised in the areas of conveyancing and probate in Sydney before moving to Devonport in 1976. There he practised in family law, civil litigation, and crime.

He practised as a barrister in Hobart from 1987 until 2000, mainly in civil litigation. He was appointed as Queen’s Counsel in 1995. He sat part-time on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (Commonwealth), first as a senior member (1989-1993) and then as a Deputy President (1993-2000).

He has been the President of the Law Society of Tasmania (1989-1990), the Chairman of Trustees of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (1991-1997), and a member of the boards of the Salamanca Arts Centre (1988-2013, President 1988-1992) and the Narryna Heritage Museum (1998-2011).

He received the medal of the Order of Australia in 1996 for services to the arts.

He has been a member of the Governing Council and Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference of Australia since 2000, and has been actively involved with the Tasmanian Legal Practice Course as an instructor for over 10 years.

The Honourable Chief Justice Alan Blow AO has been appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia for his distinguished service to the judiciary and to the law, particularly as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Tasmania, and his contribution to legal education and professional standards, and to the community. Among his many contributions, Chief Justice Blow was a board member for the Centre for Legal Studies at the University of Tasmania from 2008 until 2013.

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32 Responses to Sue Neill-Fraser and expectations of the appeal judges

  1. Garry Stannus says:

    I begin my comment by referring to another of your articles:

    Your ‘Robert Xie appeal – was he ‘framed’?’ article contains ‘Extract 2’ in which reference is made to ‘Witness A’, who is said to have had a conversation with Robert Xie. This conversation apparently canvassed Xie’s ‘in bed with wife’ alibi. She had given in evidence that once Xie had come to bed, they were together in bed for the rest of the night.

    Against this, ‘Witness A’ (a “prison informant and career criminal”) had given in evidence that Xie had confided in him to the effect that there would be no problem with her maintaining Xie’s alibi. According to ‘Witness A’, Xie had told him that because she was mildly sedated that evening and so (if I correctly understood the import of that evidence) she would not be able to support the police/prosecution proposition against Xie…

    The proposition? -that with his wife sedated, Xie had got up without her waking and had gone round to the Lin’s home (200 metres away) and had single-handedly murdered by bashing/asphyxiation the three adults and two minors who were in that house.

    Why I make this comment, Andrew, is to express my recognition of a similarity in this case to that of the Susan Neill-Fraser case.

    In that case, a witness had come forward who claimed Neill-Fraser had tried to get him to murder her partner, Bob Chappell. [Having given his evidence, it then emerged through an anonymous tip-off – during the trial – that the witness had made his allegations in the face of being charged with a number of criminal offences and, having made those claims, had asked whether his claims against Neill-Fraser would help him with his own (unrelated) charges.

    Perhaps his claims did help him. Through a long period, between his allegation against her and her trial, a ‘next-month’ hearing of the charges against him was delayed – for more than a year and a half. Yet eventually, just three weeks before the trial and shortly after Neill-Fraser’s preliminary hearings, his case was heard (he pleaded guilty) and the magistrate discharged him without a conviction.

    …without a conviction, Andrew.

    If you (or fellow readers) would like me to verify aspects of this matter, I am happy to supply genuine enquirers who might be interested, with details – obtained from court transcripts and from the court reporter’s ‘public record’ – concerning this witness. His guilty plea was on the basis of his having got a set of stairs from his nephew, of whom he’d ‘asked no questions’. His original charge had read: “unlawful possession and possess ammunition when not the holder of the appropriate firearm licence – to appear in court on the 10th of February.” [One thousand and eighty rounds of ammunition hidden in a crate hidden in a fuel tank].

    There was much more, but a year and a half later, the charges that he eventually faced and pleaded guilty to were possession of the set of stairs and of a Makita router which he said he’d bought off a bloke at the Sorell market.

    I don’t think it unreasonable to wonder whether some sort of deal was done, in exchange for his evidence against Neill-Fraser. If a deal was done, it would seem of necessity, to involve both: members of the Tasmanian Police and of the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Is it likewise unreasonable to wonder whether members of the judiciary had also been involved?

    Best wishes,
    Garry Stannus [garrystannus@hotmail.com]

    • Tony Lucas says:

      Another key plank in the prosecution’s case was that petty criminal Phillip Triffett came forward saying that 15 years ago Ms Neill-Fraser, motivated by money, had asked him to kill her brother Patrick on a yacht and then dump the body at sea.

  2. Bart Sabbe says:

    [edited] On 14 January 2020, Will Hodgman announced his resignation as premier of Tasmania, and confirmed he would also resign from state parliament. In his resignation speech, he cited the toll on his family; his 17 years in the legislature had been concurrent with the “entire lives” of his three children.

    Could it be that the true reason why the Premier resigned in early 2020 has to do with the unsavory case surrounding the Bob Chappell murder case and his weighty responsibility, especially after the handing over of the white papers and subsequent arrests by Taspol ? Didn’t he want to be prime minister at the time of a possible verdict in 2020/2021 that acquits Susan Neill-Fraser of her partner’s murder?

  3. Trevor Lehmann says:

    I am sickened by the conduct of the legal system in this case which I have been following with increasing incredulity for some time. It would appear to me that the odds are stacked against Ms Neill-Fraser given the line up Tasmanian appeal judges and their boss who was the original trial judge. Why are they resisting an impartial panel of judges from other jurisdictions? At this stage, and after the criticism of the trial that convicted Ms Neill-Fraser, you would expect that the authorities would be hell bent on ensuring that no accusation of bias could be levelled at the appeal process.

    I was astounded at the outcome of the George Pell appeal where it was reported that:
    “The less common basis of appeal is the verdict of the jury is unreasonable, or cannot be supported, given the evidence. The Pell appeal proceeded on this basis, and succeeded”.

    Well based on that outcome, I would expect the success of Ms Neill-Fraser’s appeal to be a lay down misere.

  4. andrew says:

    After several comments on the Sue Neill-Fraser case have been received but not published, there is a complaint as follows (edited for brevity):

    “Seems to us that you are only interested in uploading opinions that agree with your view, irrespective of how misinformed they are. … we worked out that the crime scene evidence (as shown in publicly available crime scene photographs) does support the case of someone winching the body through the hatch. One of the photos clearly shows that there is a block and tackle attached midway on the sail boom of the front mast. Another crime scene photo clearly shows that one of the winches on the main mast was rigged up with a handle and a rope that went to the starboard skylite hatch.”

    These points have been made before, sometimes repeatedly, by Peter Lozo and his aliases among others. And I have already said I do not wish to go round in circles about the winches and what ‘someone’ could do with them and the body and how “A 12 year old child could have easily hauled a 65 Kg body from below the deck if someone showed that child how to configure a winch…” This is absurd speculation, in the vein of the DPP at trial and the wrench he imagined that might have killed Bob Chappell. The whole point of a trial is to present credible evidence to the jury. Having such dead end discussions (eg about the fire extinguisher that was never presented as evidence, or a murder weapon that was never presented to the jury) is a waste of time and an insult to the intelligence of the average reader. That’s why comments that exercise such redundant ideas are not published.

    • Diane Kemp says:

      Andrew – totally agree with you about not going round and round again. The useless speculation is about some people continuing to try to muddy the waters in this matter. Seen this before with the biased trial that occurred. Many of us have done the research and are convinced that Sue did not receive a fair and just trial. This miscarriage of justice will now be replayed in the court again and it is hoped that the judges involved act openly and honestly with the evidence presented to them this time.

  5. Mary Lewis says:

    Hopefully the Appeals Court finds Sue “Not Guilty”. Yes, Chief Justice Blow might get a bit of bad press for one or two editions of the paper, but it will be swept under the carpet by large sections of the Legal fraternity. After all, most of them want to progress in their profession, perhaps even aspire to becoming a Judge one day. For the ordinary people, we have this strange, but fond idea that it is about justice. But let’s face it, whether prosecution or defence, for a lot of criminal lawyers it is about winning and not losing. If the Appeals Court tries to have a show of justice because of the obvious difficulties with the conviction, but still wants to save Chief Justice Blow’s reputation, they might simply say that the conviction was an unsafe verdict and order a re-trial. More unnecessary trauma, more unnecessary cost. Meanwhile Sue waits in prison.

    • owen allen says:

      Sue is innocent beyond doubt.
      A confession of at the scene whilst the crime was committed with dna at the scene, even a simpleton would understand Sue is NOT GUILTY.
      Set her free, let her out of prison.

      THIS IS NOT A GAME, I HAVE MORE POWER THAN YOU.
      TASMANIA YOU WILL BE HELD TO ACCOUNT.

  6. Tom Cairns says:

    What is it that is wrong or sick about the Tasmanian authorities? Images persist of their police officers crashing into the premises of Colin McLaren (a real police officer) and Eve Ash, and robbing them of their property, recording equipment and documents, all the rights of any citizen of any true democracy. Return of the Gestapo!
    Then the TV interview between Liam Bartlett and Meaghan Vass where she is prepared to disclose the name of the person whom she heard and knew was assaulting Bob Chappell on his yacht, critical evidence, it is called, but why the ensuing silence, or is it suppression?
    UNDERCURRENT is due for another repeat and probably an update.
    I call upon the media of every state in Australia to raise hell and to worry away at our last penal colony like a dog with a bone until it cracks.

    • owen allen says:

      I am with you Tom.
      ” To ignore evil, is to become accomplice to it.” Martin Luther King.
      “All that it takes for evil to prosper, is men, of goodwill, to do nothing. Edmund Bourke

  7. LB (name supplied) says:

    Brian – you are correct and all ‘hell’ SHOULD break loose…. this case appears to have been so conveniently pushed aside for so many years with all calls from eminent lawyers for urgent review ignored. Why? I think informed people know the answer to that…. it is truly abhorrent. Think of the ‘hell’ Sue and her family have had to endure….unthinkable. It is my view that it is way overdue that the goings on in the Apple Isle were closely scrutinised and widely publicised so that the real culprits (in the widest terms) are brought to justice. Ha! justice? Another Mothers’ Day without family…it is beyond me how those responsible can live with themselves.

  8. Stephen Berry says:

    Again Brian Johnston you have some wise words. Will the Tasmanian Court judges “address the question” or as has been their history in this case continue to kick the can down the road and deny Sues team a just and equitable chance, “will Sue’s team be allowed to win”. I don’t think there is one legal mind in the Tasmanian judicial system that believes Sue is guilty, yet all to a person have, for 11 years joined together to turn a blind eye to their gross miscarriage of justice and failed to “address the question”.

    • owen allen says:

      Nice Stephen and John. Thanks.
      Sue needs all the support she can get.
      Everyone needs to support Sue and stand against this perverted miscarriage of justice.
      Sue is the victim, it could be you or me.
      And if they get away with this, how bad could it get.
      I must have been traumatised as a child with WWII stories because I compare
      Tasmanian Justice like prewar Germany. Brown shirts and then Gestapo.
      And I can not stand it.

    • Diane Kemp says:

      While I continue to hope that Sue will finally receive justice, my concern is that these judges will fail to rule against Justice Blow – their so call boss. It is inconceivable that the decision will not be overturned but that will come with many consequences. The rule of law was not followed and the judge did not direct the jury correctly but will he be held to account??? The lack of acknowledgement of Meaghan’s DNA on the boat and her statement about the fact she was on board and Sue was not – how will they get around that now??? Sue has waited so long for this gross miscarriage of justice to be overturned, it is now time to be open and honest in the court process. Do I think that will happen or are there too many careers on the line?? Time will tell. Hang in there Sue.

  9. john stokes says:

    American sailors who love Australia will know of this case as will French and British who of course are parents to our yachting history

  10. owen allen says:

    Many thanks Andrew. I have been crying. Stiff upper lip old boy. We will never surrender.

  11. owen allen says:

    I can understand fear Andrew, that Meaghan as a child would have felt.
    I was a mature man sent to maximum and I had a murderer and his cooee attempt to put fear into me the minute I arrived in Max. And later, locked in the showers, this murderer attempted to intimidate and break my mind through fear.
    I can understand fear of violent unstable criminals. But they didn’t break me, and I should never have been there.
    And some became my friends.
    Meaghan should be safe now and I hope she is looked after and protected.

  12. Williambtm says:

    My having studied the case of Sue Neill-Fraser rather comprehensibly, permits me to offer an opinion that denotes that the DPP was not reliant on the broad power of reasonable discretion available to a DPP, as had been demonstrated during the trial of Ms. Sue Neill-Fraser.
    The atmosphere of bias had been adequately displayed by both the DPP and the presiding judge.
    Nor was there any consistency in the rigorous application of the universal law of innocence…taken into proper consideration by the presiding judge, before Ms. Sue Neill-Fraser having been pronounced as guilty.
    Also that I support the comment of Brian Johnston that the likely question is; will the 3 appointed judges allow the truth to become prominent, considering the history of bias found and recorded as extant in throughout Tasmania’s Supreme Court history?
    Tasmania’s Supreme Court Judicature are known for demonstrating the bias held against an accused…being exercised by these same as if it were a legal privilege.

  13. Rodger Warren says:

    I too am extremely nervous about the upcoming Appeal granted to Sue Neil-Fraser.
    Any person Judge or otherwise, having looked carefully at her case would come to the the same conclusion that there is no evidence to convict anybody for the disappearance of Bob Chappel.
    If Sue Neil-Fraser’s conviction is not quashed there is no hope for any person to get a fair trial in Tasmania.
    I repeat: No body, No Witness, No confession and No credible evidence.
    I hope to visit Tasmania again, but not until Justice for Sue is finally achieved.

  14. Tom Cairns says:

    This whole kaboodle just gets sillier and sillier. Megan Vass lied so she can not be relied upon. What does that have to do with her DNA being on the yacht? What kind of logic is that meant to be? Irish? (I am Irish by the way). So what do we do now, discount the DNA evidence as non-existent?
    How many people know that if you get a speeding ticket and go to court to plead not guilty then you waive the three-year-spent rule and will stay on the police files permanently as a result? The explanation is that you “made it a more serious crime by taking it to court”! The real reason is to make it look worse for you if you get into any kind of trouble again. That’s justice, man, just like they had in Dodge City.

    • andrew says:

      Her DNA being on the yacht corroborates her testimony. That’s pretty compelling evidence.

      • owen allen says:

        I agree Andrew. Yet the police say it was a secondary transfer or something.
        So I assume they mean he stood in her vomit somewhere else and it stuck to his boot. yeah.
        I have had police lie to me in court in front of a magistrate and she did not respond. 2 police, same question, different answers.
        No response from the magistrate. I was too introverted and out of my depth to insist. But I was there attempting to defend myself.

        • andrew says:

          It was the DPP who suggested that the DNA was a secondary transfer, but we know that was simply to retain the prosecution narrative.

          • owen allen says:

            ok. The DPP, a suggestion, not proof or evidence.
            Man is this just a game for some people.

  15. Brian Johnston says:

    The qualifications of the judges might may not have a great deal to do with the final decision. They may simply repeat the guilty verdict. Reason? Better for Sue to stay in gaol rather than the system and those involved every step of the way are made to look foolish. The higher ideal may take precedence that being that the system appears rigorous and the people should continue to believe that.
    If Sue is found guilty are we supposed to believe that we have it wrong?
    If Sue is found innocent all hell will break loose. Reputations will surely be destroyed and as in the chamberlain case once again Australia will look idiots on the world stage.
    I am nervous for Sue. She has a top legal team. Her team have the ability to win this case. The question is. Will they be allowed to win?

    • owen allen says:

      Brian.
      “If Sue is found innocent all hell will break loose.”
      You might be right Brian, and so it should.

      This is history making stuff. Wars have started for less.
      First it is about seeing Sue released.
      Next is to see justice prevail which will be when Sue is released.
      And then the Royal Commission.
      I challenge the civil and human rights legal experts to find where ultimately the power of the Nation has a duty to protect the people from a Rogue State Government. So whatever may happen a Royal Commission Tasmania is
      enforced by the Feds, because it won’t come from inside Tasmania.
      And the very fact they haven’t invited interstate Judges is so nepotistic/cronyistic it is beyond belief.

    • Geraldine Allan says:

      Brian — in the forthcoming CCA (or any appeal for that matter), it will be legally unacceptable that the 3 judges, “may simply repeat the guilty verdict”.

      Their decision must give reasons; if these are not in accord with evidence as given at the forthcoming hearing and/or legally imprecise, it will be HCA appealable.

      This time around, I expect extreme care will be applied to get it right.

      • Ross says:

        Geraldine – your comment makes a lot of sense and who could not argue with your views. Even the three Judges, sworn in, would find it hard to dispel your logic.
        You wrote; “This time around, I expect extreme care will be applied to get it right”. “Right” of course is subjective, depending on which side you barrack for.
        I hope that “extreme care” does not infer that an aquital for Sue -viewed by Tas legal system – will be worse than exposing their ineptitude for over a decade.
        There is more than one person on trial here over this decade-long horror as the appeal approaches. Shame on them and let us hope justice for Sue will prevail.

      • John Biggs says:

        I am glad to hear that this judgement can be appealed. I had thought that this forthcoming appeal was final. The judges can’t argue that as Meaghan has lied before therefore she cannot be believed in future. The fact that there is hard evidence that she was on the boat corroborates her second testimony. But there is also a lot of evidence that Colin McLaren dug up — signs of a struggle, blood and grey hair at the spot where someone (obviously Bob Chappell) was hauled up on deck. His evidence explains the unlikelihood of Ellis’s saying Sue, with a back problem, dragged Bob off and dumped him in a boat in near darkness …

        • Jeenny says:

          MODERATOR: Incomplete name supplied; incorrect email address supplied – comment deleted.

        • Keith Kroger says:

          Surely if the appeal is lost, the appeal could be based on the fact that the judges deciding the case are employed by, and report to, the very same judge of the trial that found her guilty. Someone is going to lose big time here. Either Sue loses and stays in gaol, or the judge who oversaw the original trial, along with the rest of Tasmania’ s legal system and police will be humiliated.

          • Jillian Jones says:

            Humiliated and charged!!!
            They are running scared, just incase they get caught out.
            They cannot afford for Sue to be free, I believe she will do the full time.
            I also BELIEVE based on the fact there was NO evidence and no “INNOCENT until provenGUILTY, beyond a shadow of a doubt”!!!
            SUS IS INNOCENT! AND SHAME on those Tasmanian’s who believe in finding her guilty, do your home work.
            Dead weight of a deceased body, plus a fire extinguisher (how much did that weigh). Winch all of this up, assuming you can manouvre the body around to how you want it, and with a bad back. I could not do it and I am bigger.
            HONESTLY, THIS IS LAUGHABLE, in a horrible way and a bloody disgusting thing to happen.

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